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Curried Lentil Salad

Yes, I know this recipe calls for many spices (which is why I always double the spice mix and save half for the next time). But I do think it’s totally worth it.

Trust me – you’re going to want to make this dish again and again – those spices won’t go to waste! This dish also keeps for a long time in the refrigerator. I’ve made a couple of very minor, healthy adaptations to the original recipe from the out-of-print Frog Commissary Cookbook by the remarkable Steven Poses.


1 pound red or brown lentils (see note)

Spice mix ingredients

  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp mace
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 large red or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup drained capers
  • 1 cup currants (or raisins, in a pinch)
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbl maple syrup or honey


  1. Rinse the lentils, and cook them in boiling water according to package directions. Drain, and place in a large bowl.
  2. In the meantime, combine the ingredients for the spice mixture in a medium-size bowl .
  3. Whisk the oil, vinegar, and syrup into the bowl with the spices.
  4. Pour over the lentils, and stir.
  5. Add the onions, capers, and currants. Stir again.
  6. Refrigerate, ideally for several hours or overnight.

Note: red lentils are prettier and cook more quickly, but brown (or green) lentils are easier to find and cost less.